I-130 For Married Couple With No Joint Financial Assets

I-130 For Married Couple With No Joint Financial Assets

  • Applicant: Ms. Maribel Garcia
  • Nationality: Mexican
  • Case Type: I-130 based on good faith marriage exemption
  • Case Processing Time: (3) months
  • Challenges:
    • USCIS demanded proof to show that Ms. Garcia’s marriage was authentic
    • Client had no joint financial assets with husband
    • Ms. Garcia was married shortly after removal proceedings, casting higher suspicion about her underlying motives to get married


    Maribel spent most of her adult life living as an undocumented immigrant in Southern California. A devout Catholic, she lived a quiet and unassuming life, working faithfully at her job in the hopes that one day she could afford to obtain a green card and become a permanent resident. But until then, she kept her head down and tried to stay invisible. Then one fateful day while volunteering at her parish, she met a man named Oscar, who turned out to be the love of her life. Oscar was a loving father of two children from a previous marriage, and he developed an instant connection.

    Up until then, Maribel had been afraid to become close to anyone, in case she was deported and forced to separate from them. That is why in the beginning of their relationship, she and Oscar were simply good friends. It was just easier that way, she thought. All of Maribel and Oscar’s mutual friends however, knew there was a spark between the two, and kept encouraging them to date. Finally, Maribel agreed to go on one date with Oscar, mainly to “make her friends be quiet” as she later said. One year after that first date, Maribel was standing at the altar with Oscar, vowing to stay beside him for better or worse. They got married in the same parish church where they met.

    Ten years later, the couple arrived at the doors of Tsang & Associates office, desperate for help. With new, stricter immigration enforcement in place, Maribel was afraid of being deported and losing her family. They knew our reputation as excellent immigration attorneys, and wanted our advice on their best course of action.


    We first had to file an I-130 Petition. We also immediately requested an exemption from deportation based on her marriage to a U.S. citizen, arguing that it would place an unjust hardship on her family if she were deported.

    Everything was going smoothly, until USCIS requested evidence that Maribel’s marriage was entered into in good faith, and not to simply avoid deportation. This was done almost immediately after the exemption was requested, which has never been standard practice before. Usually the request, if it comes at all, comes much later on in the process.

    Immediately, our team jumped into action and began compiling evidence to prove the authenticity of Maribel and Oscar’s marriage. At first, the couple only thought to bring in their marriage certificate and a few pictures, but while that evidence was necessary, we told them that, to increase the likelihood of success, we were going to need much more. Our lawyers advised Maribel and Oscar to bring in as much documentation as possible, most of which they had not even considered until we brought it up. In the end, we collected an overwhelming amount of evidence in favor of their good faith marriage, including:

    • Jointly filed tax returns from all 10 years of their marriage
    • Evidence of their religious involvement at their church as a married couple
    • Testimony from friends and family that they knew Maribel and Oscar both before and after their marriage and that they are both committed to each other.
    • Testimony from Maribel’s stepchildren and biological children that she is a loving and devoted mother.
    • Photos of their wedding and family vacations
    • Copy of Maribel’s life insurance policy designating her husband and children as beneficiaries.
    • Birth certificate of their U.S. born son.

    But we didn’t stop at merely sending in a list of all this evidence. We also provided a 10-page attorney brief, which included a detailed explanation of each piece of evidence and showed in an orderly way exactly how it demonstrated that the marriage was in good faith.


    Ms. Maribel Garcia’s I-130 Petition was approved and she simultaneously received an exemption from deportation. Not long after that, she received her green card, and for the first time in her life, Ms. Garcia felt a relief she never knew was possible. A relief that came from the peace of mind of being considered a lawful resident in a country she had called her home for years. Without the fear of deportation hanging over her head, Ms. Garcia was finally free to do the things she had always wanted to do, such as travel. The first place she and her husband visited was Canada, and they already have many more exciting adventures planned for the future.

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